On Friday the 15th I turned 30.
I know that I didn't make a big deal out of it, and that wasn't out of any shame or wanting to keep things low-key as it was I've been really busy lately and didn't have time to post about it anywhere. The company I work for has pulled me from fieldwork for at least the next couple of months after what happened in Tuscaloosa. I've been moved to another project much closer to home and I spent all day Friday in the field with my cow-orkers getting stuff set up and running for that. By the time I got home that evening it was well after 1800 EST5EDT. Lyssa had made a fine dinner for me (oven roasted jerk-rubbed chicken breast) and then we set out for the grocery store to pick up a couple of things. We'd put out the all-call a few days earlier for people to come over and hang out on Friday night, but time and plans being what they were only a few people were able to respond. Hasufin, Mika, and Jason came over to spend the evening, and we wound up sitting around talking until about 2230 EST5EDT or so. I was worn out from my medication and unfortunately wound up going to bed around 2300 local time, only to sleep clear through until 1000 the next morning.
Last week, my physician put me on prednisone for the damage to my middle ears. It's great for reducing swelling and breaking up blood clots, but it's got a couple of side effects that I'm not too keen on. First of all, you're supposed to take it as early as possible in the day because it tends to make people jittery, equivelant to four or five cups of coffee for a normal person. Second of all, it makes you very tired once the initial jitteriness passes (though that could very well have been my immune system). Third, it messes with your sense of taste. Prednisone tablets taste nasty right out of the bottle, but I find that they also change how you perceive tastes, so that everything tastes bitter until you've metabolized the last dose. No amount of rinsing, swallowing, or drinking other stuff will get the taste out of your mouth, and believe me, I've been trying. I'm on the last third of my prescription (three days of three tablets per day, three days of two tablets, and three days of one tablet per day) so the effect seems to be lessening.
I spent Saturday with Lyssa and Laurelinde in downtown Washington, DC, wandering around DuPont Circle. If you've never been down there it's sort of like the South Side of Pittsburgh, only a bit more upper class. In addition to your usual music and book shops you'll find the store of the Human Rights Council, various and sundry street buskers and people hawking street-level newspapers, cafe's, and suchlike. The three of us, after getting off the Metro (backed up by delays because the powers that be decided to perform maintenance on some of the tracks and stations) prowled around the main drag of the Circle, peering in and out of stores and generally getting re-aquainted with one of our old haunts from years gone by. We stopped in at Lambda Rising to see what new wares they had on their shelves (not much, actually, though some of the pins are quite humorous) and eventually settled in at Kramer's Afterwords Cafe' to nose the books a bit (not much sprang to eye, I fear) and have dinner. The Metro ride back home that evening was relatively uneventful. After we got back to the apartment, the three of us dropped over wherever we happened to be and napped for a couple of hours. I vaguely remember waking up once or twice but falling back asleep until 2000 EST5EDT, when I heard someone (Laurelinde?) in the shower. To celebrate my birthday we'd put out an open invite for whomever wanted to go to Spellbound in downtown DC, and given that this particular Saturday the theme was wearing our very best, we needed a decent amount of time to get ready and get everyone together. I opted for the other pair of linen trousers purchased from the Wolfstone Kilt Company (PO Box 496; Washington, VA; 22747) at the rennfaire earlier this year, a tuxedo shirt, my new cufflinks, my black velvet brocade waistcoast, an electric blue silk necktie, and my captain's coat. Lyssa wore her finest Victoriana, a wine and black coloured lace skirt and blouse. Laurelinde opted for the other end of the spectrum and wore a three-piece suit and tie with her silver-headed walking stick and captain's coat.
I discovered on Saturday night how much difference a pair of gel-plastic insoles in one's boots can make.
Hasufin, Mika, and Jason arrived around 2200 EST5EDT on Saturday night. A few other people unfortunately weren't able to make it that night for various reasons. Which is really okay, things happen that we really don't have any control over. Take care of yourselves out there, okay?
We stopped off at the local 7-11 to pick up some bottled water and then set forth for DC, and made it in a little over an hour of travel time, not bad all things considered. The crowd at Spellbound was a little thing this time around - Dracula's Ball was being held in Philadelphia this weekend, and that always has a huge draw (from other countries as well as other states). Still, there was a decent group in town, and everyone put a lot of work into their gear. A guest DJ (Slaveboy) was flown in from San Francisco for that particular night, but I have to admit his style of music isn't what I particularly prefer to dance to. It was also good to hang out with Rhianna at Spellbound, whom none of us have seen since she moved and took a new job in downtown DC. Not that I did much dancing on Saturday evening because I was still pretty worn out from walking around Washington, DC all day. I still made the effort, though it cost me quite a bit by the end of the night. Everyone pitched in to keep me on my feet and keep water heading my way on Saturday night, and by the time we left Lyssa and Laurelinde were helping me back to the car. I hadn't realized how much being sick and on a fistful of meds had taken out of me. Still, I got to bed around 0300 on Sunday morning and slept clear through until noon or therabouts on Sunday.
Then again, they had a chocolate fountain going at the front of the club next to a plate of macaroons and marshmallows, so at least my sweet tooth was happy.
Sunday afternoon brought with it sleeping like the dead, driving Lyssa and Laurelinde to Anita's on Maple Avenue for a late breakfast, and doing a bit of grocery shopping with Lyssa. Lyssa and Laurelinde went back to sleep after we got back and I decided to roam around to stretch my legs a bit. I got on route 66 west and headed in the general direction of work and the mall not too far away from same. The used book store out there is decently stocked if you interested in paperback novels of all kinds, but that's really about it, they don't have a whole lot else. The Games Parlor, on the other hand, is always well stocked with RPG books and suchlike of all kinds, and I try to stop by there at least once a month to see what new and exciting things they've added to their stock. I walked away that afternoon with a character class supplement for Etherscope and the second edition Conspiracy-X corebook because I found rules to play in the Doctor Who mythos, and I'm thinking of running a one-shot game in the medium-term future if possible. But now I'm getting ahead of myself.
The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting around a local coffee shop (if I can avoid Starbuck's I will) reading the books I'd picked up and relaxing a bit. Eventually I headed back in the direction toward home and hit up Michael's for some craft supplies, the grocery store for a few things that Lyssa and I had forgotten, and then headed back home to laze around and finish reading. Lyssa was kind enough to make her famous ravioli in browned butter and balsamic vinegar dressing for dinner, and afterward I drove Laurelinde back home while Lyssa went to bed for the night.
So, I realize that I should have answered this question much earlier but how does it feel to be 30?
To be honest, it feels very different. It came on slowly in the days before my birthday: A sense of poise, a sense of direction, and a certainty that I know what I want out of life. My plans have been in motion for several years now, and nothing is going to stop them. More to the point, I know what I want out of life and I'm working toward getting it day by day. I'm not only doing work that I enjoy, I'm doing work that completes me in a very real sense. I get to travel now and then, something that I greatly enjoy. I have lots of friends with diverse and sundry interests down here. I'm getting married in December.
So, with all of that said, why did I pass on the opportunity to go to Shmoocon this year? The answer to that is simple: After being on the road so much these past few months and not seeing anyone, I wanted to spend time with Lyssa and my friends more than I wanted to go to a hacker con and hang out. I missed everyone, it's as simple as that. I'm a little burned out on sleeping in strange hotel rooms, staring up at ceilings that I don't recognize, camping at the Dulles and Charlotte airports (pretty soon, the off-duty security officers are going to start asking me to contribute to the coffee pool), and let's not forget not having people who aren't my cow-orkers to hang out with after hours.
Oh, and crappy net.access. I could do without that for a couple of months.
Anyway, I'm 30 now. I'm almost back to full strength. I'm happy. I'm sitting around on my day off (thank you, US Federal Government). I've read four books in three days. Lyssa and my mother split the cost on my birthday gift, a sewing machine, so in the next couple of weeks I'll be making some new clothes. One of the these days I'll get around to taking pictures and putting them up. Mika's sitting on the floor playing video games.
Life is good.